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Bounce Back from Failures

Every failure is followed by two options – giving up or getting up. Those who succeed eventually are the ones who choose the latter. Let us learn the art of responding to failures from some inspiring journeys and imbibe the lessons in our lives

Walter Elias Disney, famously known as Walt Disney, was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer who changed the face of entertainment through his creative genius. Born in 1901, he not only reached the pinnacle of success but inspired many others to do so. As we closely study his life, we realise that the road to success for Disney was paved by numerous business failures and setbacks. But what set Disney apart from others is how he responded to failures and used those as opportunities to bounce back to success. Let us journey through some instances of Walt Disney’s life and learn from them.

Always be Open to Opportunities

Walt Disney was always curious to pursue his passion and explore opportunities that would lead him to success. To follow his passion, he and his elder brother Roy launched a cartoon business; Laugh-O-Gram Studios, in 1920. The company got a few assignments but later went bankrupt in a couple of years. Disney had sought financial backing for this venture from his family and friends and was disappointed by the failure. However, he did not sulk with the loss of his first business.

With just $40 in hand, he packed his bags and visited Los Angeles to try his hand at acting. But he failed at that too. However, his curious nature and awareness of the opportunities brought out the silver lining to this move. During his stay there, he realised that California did not have any animation studios. Disney convinced his brother Roy to join him and start a new business. He states, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Keep Working Despite Setbacks

Post setting up the animation studio, Disney found his first major success with the creation of Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald became a huge star in one-reel animation. However, Disney soon found that his luck had run out. He discovered that his producer had taken his team of animators from under him and that he no longer had any legal rights to Oswald. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, blaming others or plotting revenge, Disney decided to walk away and start over again. It was then that Disney conceived a version of the legendary Mickey Mouse. This version however underwent a few changes before getting the final shape. Disney once stated that the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. He never focussed on things which were beyond his control, but he focussed on what was in his control and what he could do to overcome the situation at hand.

Believe in Yourself

One of the key ingredients to success is self-belief. Highlighting the importance of self-belief, Disney stated, “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” And it is this strong self-belief that has led him to success.

As a young man, Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who opined that Disney lacked imagination and had no good ideas. Disney did not take it to heart but kept believing in himself.

In 1927, he was told by one of the most prominent studios that the idea of Mickey Mouse would not work because a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women and children! Despite getting such a feedback, Disney believed in the idea and Mickey Mouse went on to be a huge success.

It is said that the concept of Disneyland, one of the most visited tourist sites and theme parks, was turned down over 300 times by bankers and financiers. It was considered to be too extravagant.

Disney once said, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all the troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Let us draw a leaf of inspiration from the life of Walt Disney and imbibe his virtues of being curious, never quitting, believing in ourselves and showcase these qualities when we are faced with failures.


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#SadguruWhispers Do not expect quick success. Cultivate positivity to go through the ups and downs of the path.